"Dunham's ability to place Private Whitlock—and the reader in the time and place of the Civil War, whether on the family farm in upstate New York, in the mind-numbing routines of military life, or in the battlefield environment of the Civil War's Eastern theater makes this a meaningful and memorable contribution to the historical genre of Civil War letters literature."—Rod Gragg, author of Confederate Goliath: The Battle of Fort Fisher
"In Allegany to Appomattox, the story of William Whitlock and the largest Whitlock family is interwoven into the broader narrative of the Civil War. Focusing on Whitlock's letters to his family as well as an assortment of primary documents from the era, Dunham captures the experiences and challenges of a farmer and father leaving his world to fight for his country. Though firmly rooted in Whitlock's home region of western New York, this unique insight into life as a Civil War soldier goes far beyond place and serves as a commentary on the human condition that is universally relatable."—The Hudson River Valley Review: A Journal of Regional Studies
On September 7, 1864, William Whitlock, aged thirty-five, left his wife and four children in Allegany, New York, to join the Union army in battle. More than 100 years later, his unpublished letters to his wife were found in the attic of a family home. These letters serve as the foundation for Allegany to Appomattox, giving readers a vivid glimpse into the environment and political atmosphere that surrounded the Civil War from the perspective of a northern farmer and lumberman.
Whitlock’s observations tell of exhausting marches, limited rations, and grueling combat. In plainspoken language, the letters also reveal a desperate homesickness, consistently expressing concern for the family’s health and financial situation and requesting news from home. Dunham’s detailed descriptions of the war’s progress and specific battles provide a rich context for Whitlock’s letters, orienting readers to both the broad narrative of the Civil War and the intimate chronicle of one soldier’s impressions.
Valgene Dunham is Distinguished Professor Emeritus in the College of Science at Coastal Carolina University in Conway, South Carolina. He is the author and coauthor of numerous books, chapters, and journal articles.
6 x 9, 268 pages, 21 black and white illustrations, 4 maps